National Health Observances

Types of Glaucoma and Treatments

Types of Glaucoma and Treatments

What are some other forms of glaucoma and how are they treated?

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form. Some people have other types of the disease.

In low-tension or normal-tension glaucoma, optic nerve damage and narrowed side vision occur in people with normal eye pressure. Lowering eye pressure at least 30 percent through medicines slows the disease in some people. Glaucoma may worsen in others despite low pressures.

A comprehensive medical history is important to identify other potential risk factors, such as low blood pressure, that contribute to low-tension glaucoma. If no risk factors are identified, the treatment options for low-tension glaucoma are the same as for open-angle glaucoma.

In angle-closure glaucoma, the fluid at the front of the eye cannot drain through the angle and leave the eye. The angle gets blocked by part of the iris. People with this type of glaucoma may have a sudden increase in eye pressure. Symptoms include severe pain and nausea, as well as redness of the eye and blurred vision. If you have these symptoms, you need to seek treatment immediately. This is a medical emergency. If your doctor is unavailable, go to the nearest hospital or clinic. Without treatment to restore the flow of fluid, the eye can become blind. Usually, prompt laser surgery and medicines can clear the blockage, lower eye pressure, and protect vision.

In congenital glaucoma, children are born with a defect in the angle of the eye that slows the normal drainage of fluid. These children usually have obvious symptoms, such as cloudy eyes, sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing. Conventional surgery typically is the suggested treatment, because medicines are not effective and can cause more serious side effects in infants and be difficult to administer. Surgery is safe and effective. If surgery is done promptly, these children usually have an excellent chance of having good vision.

Conventional surgery makes a new opening for the fluid to leave the eye.

Secondary glaucomas can develop as complications of other medical conditions. For example, a severe form of glaucoma is called neovascular glaucoma, and can be a result from poorly controlled diabetes or high blood pressure. Other types of glaucoma sometimes occur with cataract, certain eye tumors, or when the eye is inflamed or irritated by a condition called uveitis. Sometimes glaucoma develops after other eye surgeries or serious eye injuries. Steroid drugs used to treat eye inflammations and other diseases can trigger glaucoma in some people. There are two eye conditions known to cause secondary forms of glaucoma.

Pigmentary glaucoma occurs when pigment from the iris sheds off and blocks the meshwork, slowing fluid drainage.

Pseudoexfoliation glaucoma occurs when extra material is produced and shed off internal eye structures and blocks the meshwork, again slowing fluid drainage.

Depending on the cause of these secondary glaucomas, treatment includes medicines, laser surgery, or conventional or other glaucoma surgery.

 

Source https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts


5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects

Tip ❶: Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.

Folic acid is very important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Our bodies use this B vitamin to make new cells.

Folate is found naturally in certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Folic acid is found in fortified foods (called “enriched foods”), such as breads, pastas, and cereals. In addition to eating foods with folate from a varied diet (including foods like spinach and avocado), you can:

  • Take a vitamin that has folic acid in it every day.

o   Vitamins can be found at most local pharmacies and grocery stores. Check the label on the bottle to be sure it contains 100% of the daily value (DV) of folic acid, which is 400 mcg.

o   Most vitamins sold in the United States have the recommended amount of folic acid women need each day.

  • Eat fortified foods.

o   You can find folic acid in some breads, pasta, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.

o   Be sure to check the nutrition facts label and look for one that has “100%” next to folate.

 

Tip ❷: Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine.

Many women need to take medicine to stay healthy, and there are often benefits to continuing your treatment throughout your pregnancy. If you are trying to have a baby or are just thinking about it, now is a great time to start getting ready for pregnancy by talking with your doctor about medications you may be taking.

Women who are already pregnant or think that they could be pregnant should also see their healthcare providers. Start prenatal care right away. It is important to see your healthcare provider regularly throughout pregnancy. So be sure to keep all prenatal care appointments.

It is not easy to study medicine use in pregnancy. This means there may not be easy answers about possible risks for some medicines when used in pregnancy. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with your healthcare providers, such as your doctor or pharmacist. There are often benefits to continuing your treatment throughout your pregnancy. However, if you and your healthcare provider decide to change your medicines, discussing a treatment plan before a pregnancy can give you time to consider all options that can help keep you and your developing baby as healthy as possible.

Planning how to take care of your health conditions before you become pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy. Don’t forget to talk about your family history when visiting your healthcare provider! Based on your family history, your doctor might alter your care or refer you for genetic or nutritional counseling.

 

Tip ❸: Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.

Vaccines help protect you and your baby. Some vaccinations, such as the flu (influenza) vaccine and the Tdap vaccine (adult tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine), are specifically recommended during each pregnancy.

Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep you and your baby healthy. Get a flu shot and Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.

Flu: You can get the flu shot before or during each pregnancy. Pregnant women with flu have an increased risk of serious problems for their pregnancy, including preterm birth. Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both mom and baby (for up to 6 months after delivery) from the flu.

Tdap: You should get the Tdap vaccine near the end of each pregnancy (weeks 27 – 36). After getting the shot, your body will make protective antibodies (proteins made by the body to fight off diseases) and will pass some of the antibodies to your baby before birth. These antibodies give your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough (also called pertussis). These antibodies can also protect your baby from some of the more serious complications of whooping cough. If you live in the home or will be helping to take care of a new baby, you should also receive the Tdap vaccine before the baby is born.

 

Tip ❹: Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.

Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are underweight, overweight, or obese, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Eating healthy foods and being physically active are great ways to prepare for pregnancy.

One size does not fit all. During pregnancy, follow the guidelines for weight gain that match your weight before pregnancy. Talk to your provider about making physical activity a part of healthy pregnancy.

 

Tip ❺: Boost your health by avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Alcohol: There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant. A developing baby is exposed to the same concentration of alcohol as the mother during pregnancy. This can result in a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. In addition, alcohol may make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. Alcohol use in pregnancy can also increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Alcohol can have negative effects on a baby’s development at any time during pregnancy, including before a woman even knows she is pregnant. That is why it is important to stop drinking alcohol when you start trying to get pregnant.

Tobacco: Today, tobacco can be consumed in multiple ways; this includes traditional forms like cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chew, snuff, and hookah as well as newer forms like e-cigarettes/vapes.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy can harm the placenta and a developing baby and can cause certain birth defects. The placenta grows in your uterus (womb) and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Cigarette smoke has over 4,000 chemicals. When you smoke during pregnancy, chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar damage the placenta and/or pass through the placenta and umbilical cord to reach your baby’s bloodstream. Quitting smoking will help you feel better and provide a healthier environment for your baby.

Because they are relatively new and are not well-regulated, there is less known about the effects of e-cigarettes on pregnancy. Until more and better information is available, it is recommended that pregnant women not use e-cigarettes.

Marijuana: During pregnancy, the chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through mom to a developing baby, and can harm a baby’s development. More research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect mom and baby during pregnancy. However, it is recommended that pregnant women not use marijuana.

Prescription Opioids: Painkillers such as codeine, morphine, and oxycodone may be prescribed following an injury, surgery, or dental work. Any type of opioid exposure during pregnancy can cause neonatal abstinence syndrome, or a condition the newborn experiences from withdraw from certain drugs after exposure during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and taking an opioid, talk to your doctor before making any changes. Ask about options for opioid treatment to decide what’s best for you and your pregnancy.

Other Drugs: Using certain drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her developing baby. If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant and can’t stop using drugs―please ask for help! A healthcare provider can help you with counseling, treatment, and other support services.

 

Source  https://www.nbdpn.org/docs/2019_BDPM_ThemeResources.pdf


Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy

Can thyroid disease cause problems getting pregnant?

 

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get pregnant. This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.

Thyroid problems can also affect the menstrual cycle. Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer (called amenorrhea).

 

How does thyroid disease affect pregnancy?

 

Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.

It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.

Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:4

  • Premature birth (birth of the baby before 39 to 40 weeks, or full-term)
  • Preeclampsia, a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
  • Thyroid storm (sudden, severe worsening of symptoms)
  • Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
  • Low birth weight (smaller than 5 pounds)
  • Miscarriage

Hypothyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:4

  • Anemia (lower than normal number of healthy red blood cells)
  • Preeclampsia
  • Low birth weight (smaller than 5 pounds)
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Problems with the baby’s growth and brain development

 

Source https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/thyroid-disease


Ten Questions To Ask About Your Thyroid Health

What to ask your Physician:

  1. Where is the thyroid located, and what does it do?
  2. What are the differences between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid patients and what are the symptoms of each?
  3. What is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), how is it measured, and what should my target number be?
  4. What else besides TSH levels are important for making sure my thyroid condition is under control?
  5. Why are more people than ever being diagnosed with thyroid cancer and should I be checked for it?

What to ask your Pharmacist:

  1. What is the difference between a generic thyroid hormone pill and a brand name thyroid hormone pill?
  2. Will you notify me in advance if you switch my thyroid medicine from the brand name I normally use to a generic?
  3. What time of day is best to take my thyroid hormone pill?
  4. May I take my thyroid medication with food, other medications, vitamins or supplements?
  5. Can any of my other medications affect my thyroid?

 

Source http://www.thyroidawareness.com/ten_questions_to_ask_about_your_thyroid_health


Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Too often, accidents involving children and toys occur and may result in eye injuries. Each year, thousands of children age 14 and younger suffered serious eye injuries, even blindness, from toys. 

 

There are three important ways you can protect your child’s eyes from injuries while playing with toys:

  1. Only buy toys meant for their age.
  2. Show them how to use their toys safely.
  3. Keep an eye on them when they play.

 

Toy Selection Guidelines

 

Before you purchase a toy:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.
  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Check the lenses and frames of children’s sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off. Remember that BB guns are NOT toys.

 

Before letting children play with toys:

  • Inspect toys for safe, sturdy construction.
  • Explain how to use the toy.
  • Fix or throw away broken toys.

 

Always

  • Keep young children away from toys meant for older children.
  • Supervise your children while playing.
  • Store toys properly after play to avoid risks or falls.
  • Supervise children’s craft projects (scissors and glue can be extremely dangerous to a child’s eyesight).
  • Have children wear the right eye protection for sports (face shields, helmets, eyeguards).

 

Source: preventblindness.org


Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

lung cancerLung cancer is when cells of the tissue of the lungs grow out of control. This out of control growth causes problems such as the creation of a mass (tumor). Lung cancer can affect the tissue surrounding the mass and interfere with the organ function. It can also break away from the original mass and spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).

 

Lung cancer often has no symptoms until it has spread (metastasized). This is because there are few specialized nerves (pain receptors) in the lungs. When lung cancer symptoms do occur, they vary depending on the type of lung cancer and location and size of the tumor. Some lung cancer symptoms are similar to those of other common illnesses.

 

Lung cancer symptoms may include the following: 

 Local disease (restricted to the area where the cancer started with no sign it has spread)

  • Coughing (most common, 50% of cases)
  • Blood in sputum (hemoptysis)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Wheezing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Pneumonia

Locally advanced disease (cancer has spread from where it started to nearby tissue or lymph nodes)

  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty or pain in swallowing (dysphagia)
  • High pitched sound, usually heard while taking a breath, similar to wheezing (stridor)
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the lung (pleural effusion)
  • Excess fluid in the lining of the heart (pericardial effusion)

Distant metastases (cancer has spread to other parts of the body)

 

Brain

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Visual disturbances

Bone

  • Bone pain

Liver

  • Stomach pain (right side)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea

Cancer can also cause symptoms far from the tumor that may not be related to the cancer or spread. Those symptoms include:

  • lack of appetite, weight loss, weakness (cancer cachexia or wasting syndrome)
  • clubbing of fingers
  • too much calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • low red blood cells (anemia)

 

Risk Factors

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Radon
  • Other substances:  asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust,and some forms of silica and chromium
  • Personal or Family History of Lung Cancer
  • Radiation Therapy to the Chest 
  • Diet

 

Source  cdc | lungcanceralliance.org


American Diabetes Month

American Diabetes Month

diabetesDiabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US. Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

 

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

 

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but healthy lifestyle habits, taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education, and keeping appointments with your health care team can greatly reduce its impact on your life.

 

Types

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.

 

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.

 

Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.

 

Diabetes Symptoms

The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.

 

Source  cdc | diabetes.org


National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. alzheimers2

 

Alzheimer’s and dementia basics

  • Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. 
  • Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease (also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s). 
  • Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions. 
  • Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing. 

 

Top Five Tips for Interacting with People with Alzheimer’s 

  1. Try not to take behaviors personally.
  2. Remain patient and calm.
  3. Explore pain as a trigger.
  4. Don’t argue or try to convince.
  5. Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.

 Source  alz.org


Mental Health. Colored pencils and a stetoscope on the table

10 Common Warning Signs of Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health. Colored pencils and a stetoscope on the table

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Source https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs


Eye Safety at Work

Eye injuries in the workplace are very common. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. About 1 in 10 injuries require one or more missed workdays to recover from. Of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10-20 % will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

Experts believe that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.

What are the Common Causes of Workplace Eye Injuries?

Common causes for eye injuries are:

·         Flying objects (bits of metal, glass)

·         Tools

·         Particles

·         Chemicals

·         Harmful radiation

·         Any combination of these or other hazards

What is my Best Defense Against an Eye Injury?

There are three things you can do to help prevent an eye injury:

·         Know the eye safety dangers at work-complete an eye hazard assessment

·         Eliminate hazards before starting work. Use machine guarding, work screens, or other engineering controls

·         Use proper eye protection.

When Should I Protect My Eyes at Work?

You should wear safety eyewear whenever there is a chance of eye injury. Anyone working in or passing through areas that pose eye hazards should wear protective eyewear.

What Type of Safety Eyewear is Available to Me?

Safety eyewear protection includes:

·         Non-prescription and prescription safety glasses

·         Goggles

·         Face shields

·         Welding helmets

·         Full-face respirators

What Type of Safety Eye Protection Should I Wear?

The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. If you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, you must at least wear safety glasses with side protection (side shields). If you are working with chemicals, you should wear goggles. If you are working near hazardous radiation (welding, lasers, or fiber optics) you must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed for that task.

What is The Difference Between Glass, Plastic, and Polycarbonate Lenses?

All three types of safety lenses meet or exceed the requirements for protecting your eyes.

Glass lenses

·         Are not easily scratched

·         Can be used around harsh chemicals

·         Can be made in your corrective prescription

·         Are sometimes heavy and uncomfortable

Plastic lenses

·         Are lighter weight

·         Protect against welding splatter

·         Are not likely to fog

·         Are not as scratch-resistant as glass

Polycarbonate lenses

·         Are lightweight

·         Protect against welding splatter

·         Are not likely to fog

·         Are stronger than glass and plastic

·         Are more impact resistant than glass or plastic

·         Are not as scratch resistant as glass

Source https://www.preventblindness.org/eye-safety-work